Friday, November 9, 2012

The Disney Princess Example

by Lepidlizard
I've watched many Disney movies in my youth, and adulthood, and looking back I see the same themes presenting themselves, mainly, for little girls.  One of these themes was the dependence of a male hero to "rescue" the female protagonist.

Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella were all tired examples of this theme.  Some movies, like Mulan, edge away from this damsel in distress and actually have the male protagonist follow the lead of the female protagonist, however, even in the more modern princess films the female was still put down by a male hero.

The Princess and the Frog was a story with a strong female character, Tiana,  who worked hard for her life and everything in it and it was snatched away from her just before she was turned into a frog.  Only after she collects a man does Tiana realize her restaurant business, even when the bankers said before they found another offer.

What did this story teach young girls?  You can work hard, but it doesn't mean you will achieve your dreams without a man to support you.

Many of the earlier Disney princess movies were subject to a nuclear family setting, but even the modern ones fall short to have a strong female character.

Another similarity throughout the films were the age of the girls:
Snow White-14
Sleeping Beauty-16
Rapunzel -18

All of these girls were very young to even think about getting married.  Disney raised the age of marriage infatuation over the years, but the place for fairy tale romance pushes girls as well as the pressures of college and becoming a super woman to manage it all.

Even in the animated and live action movie Enchanted princess Giselle never has to fend for herself.  She tries to facedown the dragon, however, this was taken away from her by an overweight chipmunk. Giselle does make the decision to have a "real" relationship and she does sacrifice her child-like perception of love, but she keeps her 
by Raul654
princess magic to create  children's clothing.

Some of these reasons maybe why Disney decided not to do any more princess themed movies, at least for now.  However, the constant promotion of this image of what a girl should want from a young age cannot be healthy. 

There was room for the Disney girl in the past, however, as times have changed so must the franchise, especially if it wants to empower girls.